NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On Thursday, Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare announced that they will be investing more than $125 million in their employees through raises and increased benefits.

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According to officials, Sentara will implement a 5% market pay increase for all eligible employees starting March 17. The raises will include employees up to and including the director level.

Sentara says these raises will be the “second market adjustment in less than 12 months.” Employees previously received a $2,000 bonus in October 2021.

“Investing in our people is always a top priority and in line with our mission to improve health every day. I am grateful for their dedication and have been humbled to witness the resilience they’ve shown over the last two years,” said Sentara President and Chief Executive Officer Howard P. Kern. “These important enhancements will support our people today and into the future as we work together to care for our employees, patients, health plan members and local communities.”

In addition to the raises in March, employees will also be eligible for a merit increase in May 2022.

The two combined will give employees an estimated 8-9% increase in benefits. Officials say more than 96% of Sentara’s 29,000 will see the increases.

“At Sentara, we believe in our people and are proud to be an employer of choice in the communities we serve,” said Sentara Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Becky Sawyer. “We continually evaluate our compensation and benefits programs to ensure they reflect team members’ needs, contributions and changes in our markets. Investing in salaries and innovative benefits is essential in attracting and retaining the best talent and providing the care our patients and health plan members deserve.”

Employees also saw enhanced benefits at the start of 2022. They now have access to reimbursement programs to assist with adoption expenses, infertility care expenses, and surrogacy and gestational carrier expenses.

In the future, employees can expect an increased paid time off, paid parental leave, short term disability eligibility at 7 days, enhanced sick time eligibility, additional support for family caregivers, and increased tuition reimbursement to support career advancement

Previously, Sentara raised its minimum wage to $15 and offered a variety of pandemic bonuses.